Slowly but surely, professional sports are coming back. NCAA sports, who knows? But pro sports are coming back.
The PGA Tour and NASCAR have been up and running — with no spectators — for a few weeks now. The National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball all have plans to resume their seasons in July or August.
Joining the mix of sports to start play is the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association). This past week, the WNBA released their season-long schedule, which is going to consist of 22 regular-season games. For Ducks fans, at least, the WNBA is going to be must-watch television right from the start.
Go ahead and clear your schedules for two dates: July 25th, when Sabrina Ionescu makes her WNBA debut, and four nights later (July 29) when Ionescu collides with former teammate Satou Sabally. Sabally’s Dallas Wings will take on Ionescu’s New York Liberty. Ionescu’s debut will be broadcast on ESPN at 9:00am PST, and her matchup with Sabally will be on CBS Sports Network at 5:00 pm PST.
It’s always exciting to see two ex-Ducks playing against each other in the pros. Seeing Ionescu and Sabally in new uniforms will take some adjustment, as will the bittersweet feeling of not seeing them on the same team. Nevertheless, seeing them succeed as pros will be well worth while.
Ionescu and Sabally’s accomplishments at Oregon are well publicized, and will be a part of Oregon sports history forever. They played their hearts out with the Ducks, and put Oregon Women’s Basketball back on the map. Oregon was one the few schools around the country that averaged more attendance at their women’s games than in their men’s. In one of Matthew Knight Arena’s best memories, Sabally and Ionescu led the Ducks past Team USA in front of a sold-out crowd.
When Ionescu and Sabally left Oregon, they made even more history as the first Ducks to be selected first and second overall in the same draft. Last season, the New York Liberty finished second to last in the WNBA, and selected Ionescu with the hopes she will turn the franchise around. The Dallas Wings finished only one spot ahead of New York, and took Sabally for her versatility on both sides of the floor.
These two have all the credentials to be franchise players. They are not only great players, but popular, too: during their time at Oregon, empty seats began to fill as attendance went up by nearly five times. Also, they were a big part of making ”Women Ball Too.” not just a slogan, but a brand — “Women Ball Too.” took on a life of its own. It was an inspiration to a lot of fans to see these two women come to Oregon and leave the program better than they found it.
Sabrina and Sabally can — and should — raise their respective franchises. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them face off in the WNBA finals before too long.
Top Photo from Twitter
Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.
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